Author Archives: Aimee

Unlikely Companions

Unlikely Companions: The Adventures of an Exotic Animal Doctor (or, What Friends Feathered, Furred, and Scaled Have Taught Me about Life and Love) is a fun read about what it is like to be an exotic pet vet.

As an exotic pet owner (Yuki the hedgehog) I was really excited to see the other side of the coin so to speak. So often we think just about dogs and cats, but all pets need care.

We have had a lot of “exotic” pets, and finding a good vet that can treat them isn’t always easy. Dr. Hess (the author) would be an amazing vet to visit, as she not only cares about the pets, but the people as well.

The book starts out with a mystery concerning adorable sugar gliders, but we also hear the tales of many other patients. This “week in the life” book is an enjoyable read. It’s certainly fast paced, just like her practice!

As an animal lover I loved hearing the stories, with a lot of good advice on care mixed in, about different animals. Of course, there were moments that were sad too, as not every patient makes a recovery. These moments show how much Dr. Hess and her staff care about the pets and their people though, and shows a side of vet care that we pet parents often don’t see.

Unlikely Companions is a great read for any animal lover. Written in a style that reminds me a bit of a journal, it’s a look not just at the vet practice, but at Dr. Hess’s life as well. And of course, what would a fun story be without a head of curly hair that is irresistible to her patients?

*I received a copy of the book in exchange for my review.

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15 Facts about Birds on Born Free USA’s 15th Annual National Bird Day

Today is Born Free USA’s 15th annual National Bird Day: a day to raise awareness for wild and captive birds everywhere.

National Bird Day

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation: “We want to use this day to remind the public that birds belong in the wild. They do not deserve to be bred in captivity in unregulated, often miserable conditions. They deserve to fly and not be traded and sold as pets where they spend their lives in cages, and where people cannot possibly meet the complicated needs of a bird.”

“National Bird Day is a time to celebrate birds for the true wild animals they are,” Roberts adds.

Born Free USA’s facts about birds:

  1. How many species of birds are there? There’s no single correct or universally agreed-upon number, and that’s because there is more than one definition of “species.” By one definition, there are 18,000-20,000 bird species; by another definition, there are only half that.
  2. Blackbird singing in the dead of night. “Blackbird,” a song on the Beatles’ White Album, is said to have been inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
  3. The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds employed live birds in many scenes. To attract the birds, actors often had ground meat or fish smeared on their hands.
  4. Indeed, a very Big Bird. Big Bird, a beloved character on the children’s program Sesame Street, debuted in 1969. He is 8 feet 2 inches (249 cm) tall.
  5. Keep on Rockin’! The common pigeon we see in cities around the world (and sometimes in rural or wilderness areas) used to be called the Rock Dove, but it’s now called the Rock Pigeon. It’s a feral, domesticated variation of the wild type found in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  6. Edgar Allen Poe’s famous narrative poem, “The Raven,” was first published in The Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845.
  7. Now, that’s old! Parrot fossils have been found that date back as far as 60 million years.
  8. The bald eagle. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but Benjamin Franklin had originally argued that the turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol.
  9. This is what it sounds like. Prince’s 1984 song “When Doves Cry” stayed at number one on the Billboard Music Chart for five weeks, keeping Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” from reaching the top spot.
  10. Kept captive around the world… Turacos and louries—long-tailed, medium-sized birds—are only found in the wild in Africa, but we commonly see them in zoos.
  11. Beep, beep! Looney Tunes characters The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote debuted in 1949. Their adversarial relationship was inspired in part by Tom and Jerry.
  12. The bird is the word. “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen was released in 1964. The song regained fame and notoriety after it was featured in a television episode of Family Guy.
  13. I smell an advantage for this owl. Great Horned Owls are found in every mainland state and Canadian province—and they have a really bad sense of smell! But, that’s good for them, because a major prey species for this owl is the skunk. The skunk’s best defense, a foul-smelling spray from their anal scent glands, does not deter the Great Horned Owl. Museum specimens of the owls, decades old, often retain traces of the skunk odor!
  14. The Last Suppers. In his two frescos of “The Last Supper,” painted in Florence in 1480 and 1482, Renaissance artist Domenico Ghirlandaio prominently featured flying peacocks. Art historians believe the peacocks are meant to emphasize the “Oriental” setting of the Last Supper scene.
  15. And, a partridge in a pear tree. In the song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” a holiday season standard, the singer’s true love gives her 364 gifts—184 of which are birds.

For more information on how to celebrate the wildness of all birds and help birds in captivity, please visit www.nationalbirdday.org. For bird owners looking for support, visit www.nationalbirdday.org/a_happy_bird.php.

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Surfing dog raises ½ MILLION dollars for charity on New Year’s Eve

More than 250 human/animal causes benefit as Surf Dog Ricochet achieves this major fundraising milestone on New Year’s Eve!

Surf Dog Ricochet celebrated New Year’s Eve by reaching a new milestone… raising ½ million dollars! These funds have helped more than 250 different causes, as well as Ricochet’s programs and initiatives.

Reaching this major milestone demonstrates how much Ricochet’s worldwide community supports her efforts. She sincerely thanks her individual donors, social media followers, corporate sponsors and members of the media for their continued support.

Most of Ricochet’s fundraising has been done through social media, such as her popular Facebook Page with more than 259K supportive fans, Instagram with more than 104K followers and her inspirational video “From Service dog to SURFice dog” with more than 6.4 million views.

Ricochet has been raising awareness and funds for human/animal causes since 2009 when she made an independent decision to jump on a surfboard with Patrick Ivison, a quadriplegic surfer. As a result, she became the only SURFice dog® on the planet who creates unique programs, initiatives and surf therapy experiences that empower kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors & veterans with PTSD.

Prior to Ricochet, there were no dogs committed to adaptive surfing. As such, she became the Canine Ambassador for Surfers with Disabilities, and revolutionized the healing power of the ocean, and the healing power of dogs. As the years passed, there have been a number of surfing dogs inspired by Ricochet’s work who are now sharing the stoke of surf therapy, such as Leia from Walking on Waves in South Africa. Ricochet acted as a mentor to their program, and made a $500 donation to one of their surf sessions this past summer.

Having more dogs in the line-up comes at a time when Ricochet’s grassroots initiatives have organically evolved to the next level. One of those initiatives is her Waves of Empowerment program that empowers individuals to help themselves by helping others, while maximizing their well-being. These are folks that Ricochet has previously surfed, or worked with, who are now volunteering to help the next wave of disabled surfers get on board with her.

A look at Ricochet’s achievements, aside from fundraising, includes a wide variety of projects that focus on community outreach including her PTSD Battle Buddy Initiative, Operation Socialization, Friends of Bethany Hamilton Beautifully Flawed Retreat, ISA Adaptive Surfing Championship, Surf Away SMA, Life Rolls On, The Best Day Foundation, Veteran’s Adaptive Sports Camp, The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation Ocean Therapy program and many more that can be found on her website at http://www.surfdogricochet.com.

A key to Ricochet’s success was retiring from surf dog contests. Although she typically placed in the top three winning positions, she found adaptive surfing to be the ultimate prize. She has a powerful ability to make immediate, deep, heart-to-heart connections with the individuals she interacts with. She intuitively and empathically alerts to their emotional and physical changes which allows for profound paws-on healing interventions. She balances boards… and lives!

Next up for Ricochet is her 9th birthday on January 25. She has also been cast as one of the dogs in the upcoming IMAX film, Superpower Dogs. In addition, Ricochet is currently training her new puppy, a golden/lab mix named Encore (Cori). Although it’s not known if Cori will follow in Ricochet’s pawsteps as a surFUR, it’s a given that whatever she does will be in the spirit of pawing it forward!

Ricochet graciously thanks her generous supporters for these crucial donations that make it possible for her to carry out her work, proving what dogs are capable of.

Note: For more information visit http://www.surfdogricochet.com. On Facebook & Twitter: “Surf Dog Ricochet” https://www.facebook.com/SurfDogRicochet

ABOUT SURF DOG RICOCHET
Ricochet is a world famous, award-winning surfing dog who surfs for fun, wins surf dog contests & most importantly… SURFS WITH PURPOSE! She surfs solo, with children, adults, pros, celebrities, other dogs, a goat & even Rob Machado!

She is a certified and registered therapy dog who lives a lifestyle of helping others by pawing it forward while raising funds and awareness for human/animal causes. Her life story is penned in a book called Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions (available on Amazon).

She has gone from service dog to SURFice dog and back again! She holds the titles of AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD), American Humane Association Hero Dog, ASPCA Dog of the Year, AKC Award for Canine Excellence, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Surf Dog Hall of Fame, International Surfing Museums Surf Dog Walk of Fame, San Diego Humane Society Animal Compassion Award, and many more that can be found on her website.

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Fancy Feast Feastivities (giveaway and a gift guide)

This post is sponsored by Purina. As always we only share things we think our readers will love. All opinions are our own.

The holiday season is here, and with it comes gift giving, getting together, and celebrating! And of course, our pets are always a big part of the fun. We are happy to help add to the spirit of the season with a special giveaway, so be sure to enter below.

Fancy Feast believes that with intention and love, unique details can come together to create extraordinary experiences. That’s the thought behind the Fancy Feast Medleys line, and the inspiration for this year’s Fancy Feast 2016 ornament. Feastivities is a celebration of ways to delight cats and cat lovers during the holiday season, and for years to come!

Fancy Feast Medleys feature combinations of ingredients in delicious recipes your cat will enjoy discovering. They make the perfect gift for any kitty in your life, any time of the year. With so many combinations to choose from, you can really give your cat a treat when it’s time to eat. They are truly made with the enjoyment of your cat in mind.

The Fancy Feast ornament, a yearly tradition, sold out online already, but we have 5 to giveaway to you dear readers! All proceeds from the ornament sales went to AdoptAPet.com to help homeless pets find forever homes. It’s really beautiful this year too!

feastivities-gift-guide

That’s not all though, this year Fancy Feast partnered with Brit+Co and blogger Jojotastic to create a gift guide full of unique gifts for the cat-lover in your life. The gifts are handmade, making them even more special and unique. Pair your favorite pick with a few Fancy Feast Medleys and you have a gift that any cat lover will adore!

Are you ready for your chance to win this year’s ornament? Enter via the form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to those in the USA. Winners will be chosen at random. For more ideas on how to create Fancy Festivities with your cats, be sure to check out Fancy Feast on Facebook, and on Instagram!

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